Candles have held a significant place in different countries, cultures and religions throughout history. Candles have come a long way from being produced using dried branches dipped in animal fat to creating slow burning fire. Let’s shed some light on the history of candles.
The basic premise behind candle making has always been the same. The burning wick in the center is surrounded by a material that slows down the burning process. The end result is a source of light and heat.
Historically, the dipping method was the primary method for candle making, dating back to the Middle Ages. Candle wicks were dipped several times in molten animal fat until the fat sticking to the wick would hit a desirable thickness. While these were effective candles, the smell of burning animal fat was a point of concern.
After animal fat candles came the beeswax candles. Made using both dipping and pouring methods, they presented a more efficient option as compared to animal fat. In addition, the constant smell of burning animal fat was replaced with a better aroma.
The pouring method involved molten beeswax being poured onto suspended cotton wicks as they were twisted. As a result, the beeswax accumulated on the wick, reaching the desired thickness. The process was repeated with the pouring from the other end to provide it an even beeswax coating.
While candles are no longer a primary source of light nowadays, the art of candle making is still practiced on a limited scale through the pouring method. The industrial production of candles entails the use of paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct. The wax is more durable and burns with little to no odor.
Many hobbyists practice candle making for decorative purposes or as an art form. They sculpt candles and mold them into beautiful ornaments. A large number of companies also make candles using scented wax, which provide a gentle aroma when burned.
A former Information Technology Professional Amita Vadlamudi currently spends her free time reading and researching and blogging. History is of particular interest to Amita Vadlamudi and she finds candle making history to be a curious subject.